The F.B.I. is at it again, asking Apple to help unlock a couple of devices that may be linked to a recent shooting. The F.B.I says it has legal authority to conduct a search but has been unable to unlock it with current tools.
What’s going on?
Apple is on record to the public, the courts, and the F.B.I. stating it does not have a backdoor key and cannot open iPhones or iPads no matter who the owner is or the legal status of a search.
Why is the F.B.I asking?
I see two overlaying issues here.
First, the F.B.I. has a method to unlock the device but it didn’t work. Hey, things happen. Techno-gadget makers who create devices to unlock locked devices don’t bat 1000-percent, so something is up with that particular device.
After all, the F.B.I. hasn’t made much noise in the past few years about Apple’s lack of cooperation to help unlock locked devices.
Second, the F.B.I has a method to unlock such locked devices but needs to keep the pressure on Apple, the public, and congress to force a legal system to provide backdoor access in the future– even if it technological means to unlock such devices already.
The latter method is win, lose, lose. The F.B.I. and authorities win, while Apple and customers lose.
There are certain axioms of life that need to be repeated and repeatedly reconsidered.
First, everyone wants your money. We live in a capitalist world. Second, if everyone is out to get you, a little paranoia is a good attitude to have. Third, nothing improves without change. But not all changes are improvements for us, the paying, voting, and discriminating public.
We need to remember that no system is infallible and Apple will turn over legally requested information that it has on any customer (data stored on iCloud is a good example). We need to remember that not all of the information we give to Apple is safely encrypted and accessible only by us, the paying customer.
Since those axioms are not likely to change, does it not pay us to be careful where we store valuable or incriminating information?
The F.B.I. bothers Apple from time to time because, 1) it can, and, 2) it needs to keep up the pretense, and, 3) it needs to keep pressure on Apple, courts, congress, and customers. The smart bad guys will resort to encryption that nobody can hack into anyway.